Friday, May 16, 2008

travels with dumplings

I recently returned from a 7 day trip with my 'Sustainable Baltic Region' course through Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), and Riga (Latvia). Though it wasn't quite educational in an institutional sense, I absorbed plenty of culture: tram etiquette, bus routes, language barriers, beer, and dumplings. Dumplings, it could be said, ruled this trip. My estimates vary within 1.5 pounds and 1.5 kilos for the week.

Dumplings are the home-cooked comfort food of Eastern Europe. They are eaten on holidays, for dinner, lunch, and gobbled as after-pub snacks. Whether boiled or fried, their thin but firm dough outer houses a variety of tasty eatables. Potato, farmer's cheese, cabbage, beef, pork. While sour cream is the requisite dip, condiments often include parsley, pickles, sweet-chili sauce, and garlic sauce.

Dumplings, condiments, soup (BORSCHT!), sides, and drinks are self-service and priced by weight. Just great.

I've determined the Swedish version of this to be a variety of peeled-boiled potatoes, rather than dumplings, in self-service vats. Sides would include k├Âttbullar (meatballs!), beet salad, pannkakor (pancakes!), lingonberry jam, and gravy, (and tube caviar? of course). It would be wildly popular.

And, a delicious poppy seed pastry I consumed:


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to some hearty and heavy eats next week!

Emiline said...

Yummm...everything looks so good. I could go for a poppy seed pastry right now.

Is that a cup of espresso I spy?

Denise said...

Looks delicious!


Manger La Ville said...

This sounds delicious. I love borscht. And I never knew dumplings came with all these accoutrements like dipping sauces. Yummy!

Fabjena(TheBestRecipes) said...

:)) So funny, I see you have been in the worst cafe in Riga, it's a place with bad raputation and with bad food, so I don't think you really enjoyed latvian kitchen :)) I know it, as I'm from here. :p